Deputy Chief Counsel
The Federal Railroad Administration’s mission is to enable the safe, reliable, and efficient movement of people and goods for a strong America, now and in the future. FRA promulgates and enforces rail safety regulations; consolidates government support of rail transportation activities; administers financial assistance programs; conducts research and development in support of improved railroad safety and efficiency, and national transportation policy, including improved intercity passenger service.
The Deputy Chief Counsel provides legal guidance associated with the establishment and execution of FRA’s policies, programs, and procedures by:
- Developing regulations and enforcing laws, rules, regulations, and orders administered by FRA.
- Drafting FRA legislative proposals and advising on the legislative proposals of others.
- Providing legal advice on Amtrak matters.
- Providing legal guidance on a wide-range of programs such as procurements and grants; research and development; fiscal law; financial assistance program (including grants); environmental and historic preservation law; railroad bankruptcies; railroad labor law; equal employment opportunity and civil rights; ethics; tort claims; Freedom of Information Act; Buy America Program; Privacy Act; Americans with Disabilities Act; and personnel related matters.
- Providing advice to FRA officials on all legal issues confronting the agency;
- Representing the Office of Chief Counsel and FRA at speaking engagements, meetings, negotiations, hearings, and other public events.
- Working closely with the Department of Transportation’s General Counsel to develop the Department’s legal position in administrative proceedings and court lawsuits involving FRA and the railroad industry.
- Preparing and administering the Office of Chief Counsel budget.
As a basic requirement for entry into the Senior Executive Service (SES), you must show in your resume evidence of progressively responsible leadership experience that is indicative of senior executive level management capability; and that is directly related to the skills and abilities outlined under the Technical Qualifications and Executive Core Qualifications listed below.
Current career SES members, former career SES members with reinstatement eligibility, or SES Candidate Development graduates that have already been certified by OPM should also show in your resume evidence of the qualification requirements.
TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS (TQs): Below are descriptions of the technical qualifications that must be clearly described in your resume. Your responses must explain how your experience supports each of the TQs.
- Demonstrated experience serving as a senior-level legal expert on enforcement, regulatory, or legislative activities, including the ability to represent and defend positions pertaining to statutes and regulations to a variety of stakeholders both inside and outside of government, in negotiation, litigation, briefings, public presentations, or other settings.
- Demonstrated senior-level experience in communicating advice on novel or complex legal issues to executive level decision-makers and other stakeholders, on interpreting and applying fact, law, and policy. Decision-makers and stakeholders include such groups as members of Congress or representatives of their staff; high-level officials within Federal agencies, state, city and county officials; Attorney General and State Legislature; railroad management and labor officials; various technical and professional organizations; and other associations interested in railroad safety; and the public in carrying out the agency’s legal responsibilities.
ECQ 1 - LEADING CHANGE: This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment. Leadership Competencies: Creativity and Innovation, External Awareness, Flexibility, Resilience, Strategic Thinking, Vision
ECQ 2 - LEADING PEOPLE: This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts. Leadership Competencies: Conflict Management, Leveraging Diversity, Developing Others, Team Building
ECQ 3 - RESULTS DRIVEN: This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks. Leadership Competencies: Accountability, Customer, Decisiveness, Entrepreneurship, Problem Solving, Technical Credibility
ECQ 4 - BUSINESS ACUMEN: This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically. Leadership Competencies: Financial Management, Human Capital Management, Technology Management
ECQ 5 - BUILDING COALITIONS: This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals. Leadership Competencies: Partnering, Political Savvy, Influencing/Negotiating
FUNDAMENTAL COMPETENCIES: The following competencies are the foundation for success in each of the Executive Core Qualifications: Interpersonal Skills, Oral Communication, Written Communication, Integrity/Honesty, Continual Learning, and Public Service Motivation. Additional information about the SES and Executive Core Qualifications can be found on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) SES Website.
You are strongly encouraged to review OPMs Guide to SES Qualifications for specific examples and guidance on addressing Executive Qualifications in a Resume.
- All applicants must have successfully completed a full course of study in a school of law accredited by the American Bar Association leading to a professional law degree – LLB or JD.
- All applicants must be an active member in good standing of a state, territory of the United States, District of Columbia, or Commonwealth of Puerto Rico bar.
CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT: If selected for this position, you will be required to:
- Complete a one-year SES probationary period (unless already completed).
- Complete a Public Financial Disclosure report, OGE-278. You will need to provide the information annually.
- Federal Government Travel Card Requirement: The Travel and Transportation Reform Act of 1998 [pub.L.105-264] and the Federal Travel Regulations [41 CFR Part 3000 et seq.] require that all Federal employees obtain and use contractor-issued Federal travel charge cards for all payments or expenses related to official Government travel. To be considered for this position, all applicants who are current employees of either the Federal Railroad Administration or another Federal agency will be asked to certify that their Government travel card is in good standing (i.e. not suspended or cancelled) and that there exist no reasonable circumstances which would jeopardize that good standing. All applicants understand and agree that FRA's offer of employment or a position under this announcement is voidable at the sole discretion of FRA if: 1) if the applicant fails to provide the required certifications; or 2) if the certification is found to be untrue; or 3) if the applicant is unable to obtain a Federal Government travel card for whatever reason.
The duties of the Deputy Chief Counsel include providing legal advice regarding:
- FRA safety regulations, orders, interpretations, and enforcement of railroad safety laws, regulations, and orders including emergency orders and disqualification orders for safety violations that demonstrate an individual’s unfitness for safety-sensitive service.
- FRA’s program for assessing, compromising, and collecting civil penalties for violations of railroad safety laws, regulations, and orders.
- The development and execution of FRA’s financial assistance programs, including the development of regulations, grants and loan documents, cooperative agreements, solicitations for funding applications, interpretations, environmental documents, and other legal documents.
- Procurements and grants; research and development; fiscal law; financial assistance program (including grants); environmental and historic preservation law; railroad bankruptcies; railroad labor law; equal employment opportunity and civil rights; ethics; tort claims; Freedom of Information Act; Buy America Program; Privacy Act; Americans with Disabilities Act; and personnel related matters.
- Representation on the Amtrak Board of Directors, the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation Board of Directors, the Moynihan Station Development Corporation Board of Directors; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Homeland Security or the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The Deputy Chief Counsel is also responsible for:
- Developing the legislative program, which requires initiating, coordinating, and expediting legislation to accomplish the policy objectives of the Administration for submission by the Secretary of Transportation to the Office of Management and Budget and to the Congress.
- Preparing reports that set forth the Administration’s position or the views of the FRA on legislative proposals originating outside of FRA, which includes the preparation of statements and testimony for presentation at Congressional Committee hearings by the Administrator and other administration officials, and providing the Administrator (and other administration officials) with substantive advice and assistance on the legislative aspects of the policy, plans and programs of the Administration.
- Representing FRA in formal and informal legal proceedings before courts, and legislative and administrative tribunals on railroad issues.
- Maintaining frequent contact with members of Congress, Department of Transportation officials, the public, and officials of other Federal agencies, States, and the rail industry.